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Just Discovered XTC

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by m.e., Feb 27, 2016.

  1. skronker

    skronker 2010/2013/2015 S.C. Champions

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    Andy is a shredder himself or at least he has the ear for shredders
    he has chops, yeah lamb chops!!!
    he is quite aware of Ollie Halsall and Rory!
    Here is an old vid of Andy showing some parts to songs and talking about some of his influences
    Andy is most awesome

     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
    Kentano2000, fretless, m.e. and 4 others like this.
  2. & You Don't Stop

    & You Don't Stop Member

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    at the end of 'Books Are Burning" Andy and Dave trade brilliant solos
     
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  3. micycle

    micycle Member

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    I used to co-run a coffee shop in the early 2000s and had at least 1 XTC CD in the 5 disc carousel at all times (usually Skylarking and/or Black Sea). XTC by far got the most "Who is this? I love it!" comments, and some customers even went so far as to go out and buy their CDs. *pats self on back*
     
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  4. S. F. Sorrow

    S. F. Sorrow Member

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    Interesting doc of XTC recording Towers of London. What surprised me was the drum room. I always thought they used some type of effects for the album's drum sound but a lot of it is the room's acoustics.

     
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  5. Stu Cats

    Stu Cats Member

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    In the early 80s, there was a Sunday morning kid's show called Switchback on CBC, here in Kanuckistan. They played the coolest music which was heard on regular rock radio. I was 10 when I hear this, and electricity flowed through me. It is still my favourite track from them:
     
  6. teleman1

    teleman1 Supporting Member

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    I am 62, not the happiest camper with today's music. Andy Partridge was the the last savior for rock music. His stuff is just plain incredible and innovative. If he didn't have dam stage fright, they might have been a more huge influence. Lovem! The song that got me into them was "Senses working overtime", shocking what a perfect tune it is. Colin is a freak awesome bass player>>>way underatted. Dave Gregory>>>this is a guy that could have played on every Peter Gabriel record and been an asset. Super gifted player with an ear. Watch his Youtube videos! I was into them about 1980, late to the game.
     
  7. fretless

    fretless Supporting Member

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    You are dead right about Colin Moulding as a bassist. He's like Macca in steroids. Brilliant player!
     
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  8. erksin

    erksin Member

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    There's so much to choose from, but this song perfectly encapsulates what they were about IMO.



    Hooky, incredibly tight musicianship, Andy's completely unique meter when delivering a line, a Jazz solo in the middle of this insanity(?!) - it's all there wrapped up in a perfect little 4:15 chune.
     
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  9. erksin

    erksin Member

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    And as said before, gems on every record:







     
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  10. randall g

    randall g Member

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    To me they combine my favorite aspects of pop rock (great songs and hooks) and what we can call "progressive" (inventive songs, arrangements and chord structures). And, as melodic as they are, they also have unpredictable and twisted elements. "Chalkhills and Children", "The Last Balloon", "Sacrificial Bonfire", and so many more. I never stop listening to those albums!
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  11. gpasq

    gpasq Member

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    Dave is now playing with Big Big Train. Very different than XTC. Also in the band is Rikard Sjöblom, an awesome guitarist as well!

    Lots of footage of him in the vids below.





     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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  12. gpasq

    gpasq Member

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    And to bring it back to XTC... there are whole suites of songs on each album that I just think are among the most amazing "pop" songs I've ever heard. AND so many songs have incredible music going on. Listen to the guitar solo in Rocket From a Bottle, or the organ outro in Ugly Underneath, or the background riffs in the second and last choruses of Merely A Man, or the entirety of Ten Feet Tall, or the weird production of Deliver Us From the Elements, or the lyrics of "When you're with me I have difficulty respirating..." Who says that?

    Amazing band.
     
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  13. Elantric

    Elantric Silver Supporting Member

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    Back in 1980 i was working on Steve Bartek's guitars (Strawberry Alarm Clock, Oingo Boingo, currently Danny Eflman's orchestrator
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Bartek
    Oingo Boingo toured with XTC and The Police on a few world tours in the late '70's / early 80's -

    and we had common ground in our mutual admiration for British guitarist Dave Gregory's guitar playing with XTC on "Drums & Wires", "Black Sea" "English Settlement"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XTC


    I remember in 1981 when Synth bands (Thomas Dolby, Howard Jones, etc) were all the rage, and friends were trading vintage 50's Les Pauls for Roland Juno-6 Keyboards because the guitar world was essentially dead in the eyes of radio, Dave Gregory was telling everyone he knew to buy vintage guitars instead
    http://www.guitargonauts.info/
    Turns out he was right!










    Dave Gregory's Guitargonauts web site of back on line
    Check out his guitar collection
    http://www.guitargonauts.info/

    And great annecdotes from a master
    http://www.guitargonauts.info/pick-17.html

    --

    [​IMG]

    1953 Gibson Les Paul
    XTC's journey to the U.S. in the spring of 1986 to work with Todd Rundgren has been well-documented elsewhere, though what made it particularly memorable for me was my acquisition of an original 1950's Les Paul guitar – something I'd dreamt of owning since I was a kid.

    When Gibson launched the Les Paul in 1952, it was the only solid-bodied non-steel guitar they produced, though variations on the basic theme would appear throughout the fifties.

    Constructed from a single slab of mahogany 2" thick, capped with 2 or 3 pieces of ½" maple carved to resemble an arch-top and sprayed gold, it was a serious looker that produced a big, warm tone – quite unlike the twangy new Fenders that were beginning to proliferate the guitar market.

    The one innovation that didn't work on its introduction was a huge trapeze-style bridge/tail-piece, in which the strings were fed underneath the bridge-bar, making string-damping with the right palm very awkward. After less than a year in production, a simple solution to the problem was found by mounting the bridge on two steel studs sunk into the top of the guitar, and wrapping the strings over the bar, which could be adjusted for string length by two grub-screws at the rear. Mine is one of the very first with this arrangement – my favourite, just like Nigel Tuffnel's! – though by 1955 it would be modified again to include a bridge separate from the tail-piece, the ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic.

    Having spent my career experimenting with a variety of guitars, pick-ups, amps and pedals in a quest for The Perfect Tone, the arrival of this guitar proved once and for all that the solution lies in the timber. These guitars were constructed from woods from the Garden Of Eden, I swear, and crafted by God's little helpers at the Kalamazoo plant. While Gibson currently produce an impressive range of Les Paul re-issues, none can boast what the fifties literature proclaimed the "Les Paul tones". More's the pity…

    An apocryphal account of my eating habits during the "Skylarking" sessions (that appeared in Farmer's Song Stories) claims that I was feasting on haute cuisine most evenings, whilst my band-mates made do with bung-hole cardboard pizzas. Not true! I was eating very cheaply indeed, in order to save as much per diem as possible to buy another guitar.

    Making records was the only way we got any money at all from the record company at that time. I'd drive to the supermarket in Woodstock, load up with the cheapest cuts of meat, mince, frozen chicken and a bare minimum of fresh vegetables, and made it last. The cash I'd saved was stashed away, and by the time of our last two days in San Francisco I'd managed to scrape together nine hundred of your American dollars.

    In the mid-80's, the big money was going on pre-CBS Fenders – Les Pauls were pretty unfashionable, and there were plenty about. I found two elderly gold-tops hanging on the wall in a large music store, thick with dust, neglected and scruffy. One was a '52 with the big trapeze, sprayed gold front and back; the other, this one, lacquer hacked off the back by years of belt-and-buckle abuse, cuts and bruises everywhere, original frets worn down to less than a millimetre and a fingerboard so badly pitted you could have planted spuds in it. The machine heads had been changed, and the original bridge studs had been replaced by some crappy seventies chrome-plated ones that were the wrong size and consequently useless for holding the bridge correctly, which sat at an absurd angle with the strings sitting ¼" off the fret-board. I plugged it in, and the sound that came out of it was unreal. After a lot of begging and pleading with the staff (God bless 'em!), my 900 in cash finally got the better of them and I left the store with the prize of my life.

    Back again in Woodstock, I scoured Todd's workshop for a means of fixing the bridge problem, eventually finding a steel washer which I proceeded to saw in half, using the two pieces to shim the gap between the shoulder of the bridge and the top of the stud. They're still in place to this day. Once back in England, a visit to Jonny Kinkade put his genius to work "shooting" and re-fretting the finger-board with some meaty, jumbo frets and a brass nut. (I thought it might match the gold better…doh!) I later had the bridge re-plated, and have replaced the tuners with new single-ring Klusons. All the electrics are 100% original; in 48 years, not so much as a control pot has been changed, and they still operate perfectly, and silently. I'm proud to say that I brought this guitar back from the dead, and it's repaid me tenfold over the years.

    A truly fabulous guitar.

    Recording debut: XTC: Dear God (May 1986)
    Features on: Extrovert (solo); The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul (XTC, Skylarking, 1986); Little Lighthouse; You're My Drug (Dukes Of Stratosphear, Psonic Psunspot 1987); Garden Of Earthly Delights; The Loving (solo); Merely A Man (wah-wah); Across This Antheap (A.P.) (XTC, Oranges & Lemons, 1988); Let Me Change Your Mind Tonight (solo) (Johnny Hates Jazz, 1990); The Ugly Underneath (E-bow); Books Are Burning (end solos) (XTC, Nonsuch, 1991); Queen Phyllis Of Colchester (Martin Newell, The Off-White Album, 1994) Inside The Dream (solo) (Becki diGregorio, Seven Worthies…, 1986); etc.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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  14. S. F. Sorrow

    S. F. Sorrow Member

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    The touring thing... Sometimes wonder if I freaked out Andy Partridge! After a show in early '81 a bunch of my friends were in a big fat old 70's station wagon drinking - High schoolers. One of my friends said "Hey they're walking to the bus!" We all jump out and run at them like they were The Beatles.
    At that particular venue everyone HAD to be seated. Andy told the audience to get up and dance but the crowd rushed at the stage!
    Saw XTC at The Bayou months earlier and Andy was very happy onstage & shaking hands with the audience. I shook his hand too!
    Must have been non-stop touring promoting the Black Sea.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. cameron

    cameron Member

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    Did they really release that with the image flipped? I guess making it a mirror-image video would be consistent with the mocking attitude toward the lip-synch that they're also displaying.
     
  16. ksandvik

    ksandvik Member

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    A must listen in this new world order:

     
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  17. richt

    richt Member

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    Here's a great interview with Andy on Songwriting. Love the man, his wit is just wonderful!

    cheers,

    richt
     
  18. cffluntouch

    cffluntouch Gold Supporting Member

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    IMHO they are the most criminally underrated, under appreciated band in history. Such great musicianship and songwriting, and so many hit songs that never became hits. I honestly believe the reason comes down to the songs subject matter/very English lyrics, and Andy and Colin's voices. Certainly not on the Beatles level, but as ingenious nonetheless.
     
  19. wgs1230

    wgs1230 Fully Intonatable Supporting Member

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  20. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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